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10.5.04

Demonstrations at Cannes

Quentin Tarantino, the president of this year's main jury at the Festival de Cannes (see my post on February 17), will be in the thick of things politically this week. The Intermittents du spectacle, a union of part-time workers in the performing arts, are upset that their benefits (they receive unemployment pay from the government if they can show that they work at least one-quarter time in some area of the performing arts) may be cut (see my post on August 13, 2003, about their activities last summer). As reported by Jean Darriulat (Cannes: les intermittents sur le pied de guerre [Cannes: the intermittents on the warpath], May 9) in Le Parisien and many other places, members of the group temporarily blocked a truck that was taking film reels down to the festival, as it left the warehouse of the Filminger company in Garges-lès-Gonesse.

"By blocking the truck transporting the film copies of the Cannes Festival and then letting it go, we intended to show that we can intervene where and when we want. This is free advertising," [a spokesperson announced.] Ultimately, there will be more fear than harm: "Now that the truck has obtained special permission to travel on the weekend, the films should arrive in Cannes on schedule," the Festival's spokesperson confirmed yesterday.
On Sunday, it was reported that the films arrived safely in Cannes and that the Festival, which remarkably does not employ any part-time workers who might strike, would not be cancelled as a result of any actions by the intermittents. Another article (Le Festival de Cannes mise sur le dialogue avec les intermittents [The Cannes Festival in negotiations with the intermittents], May 9) states that:
the intermittents have called for a "strong mobilization" during the festival, from May 12 to 23, while insisting that their objective is not to "capsize it." On Sunday their movement received the support of several French filmmakers in competition, including Agnès Jaoui, Raymond Depardon, Tony Gatlif, and Benoît Jacquot, who claim it is "urgent to find lasting solutions" and ask the government "to express clearly its support for the cultural politics of France."
It appears that the Festival will be allowed to take place, but there will be demonstrations: busloads of protesters will leave for Cannes tomorrow, Wednesday, and Sunday. We will follow the news over the next couple weeks with interest.

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